Sunday, July 13, 2014

2014 Season Countdown: #43 Dymonte Thomas

Dymonte Thomas
Name: Dymonte Thomas
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 191 lbs.
High school: Alliance (OH) Marlington
Position: Safety
Class: Sophomore
Jersey number: #25
Last year: I ranked Thomas #33 and said he would be Michigan's nickel corner. He made 7 tackles and blocked 1 punt.

Thomas was an Army All-American, enrolled early in January 2013, got lots of hype, and was pegged as the starting slot corner going into the fall. In the season opener again Central Michigan, he won the Brandon Herron Award, which is given out once every today to reward a guy who plays very well in a season opener only to fall off the face of the planet. Thomas made brief appearances for the rest of the season, but fellow freshman defensive backs Jourdan Lewis and Channing Stribling kept him off the field while Blake Countess would move into the slot in nickel situations.

Brady Hoke said this off-season that they would be moving Thomas to safety and letting him concentrate on one position, which indicates that things were moving a little too quickly for him last year. Indications are that he has been getting reps at free safety, which scares me in much the same way as it did with the now departed Josh Furman - anytime you move a guy back in the defense, bad things are likely to happen. Thomas, a high school linebacker, should be playing nickel corner or in the box as a safety. The starting free safety will be Jarrod Wilson, but the strong safety situation is unsettled - Delano Hill appears to be the front-runner with Jeremy Clark as another option. I place Thomas here because he could play either safety position, he could help out at nickel corner if there's a need, and he can also be a valuable asset on special teams with his speed, athleticism, and physicality. I believe his physical assets are unmatched by any defensive back on the team besides Jabrill Peppers, but it remains to be see how exactly he fits.

Prediction: Backup safety, special teams ace

39 comments:

  1. I really wish Dymonte can figure things out and has a break-out year. He stood with his commitment and was a hell of a high school player.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thomas is looking dangerously like another 5 star bust. Hoke and company have had too many of those, or are on the verge of it, and have had NONE of their top recruits even giving a hint that they're going to develop into big stars. It should not take 3 or 4 years for top level recruits to make a real impact.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some times it does take that long bro be patient. Everyone knew he was raw coming out of high school that's why he was listed as an athlete on some sites. 5 star is just a projection based off potential. Even if he doesn't pan out we have plenty of 3 and 4 star DB's who look like future stars.

      Delete
    2. People who call college football players "busts" after their freshman seasons - in this case true freshman season - are hilarious. Yes, that's exactly how college football works. What these guys are in their first few months is exactly what they'll be in their next 4-5 years.

      Delete
    3. Well, yes…it usually is, with a few exceptions, notably QB and OL. Guys who are going to be big stars usually show it in their first year on the field, or at most, their second. That doesn't mean that they're as good as a freshman as they going to get, but they should be showing real talent, and, more importantly, improvement. Pipkins has pretty well busted out, and Kalis looks singularly unimpressive too.

      To just say that some guys take longer to develop than others completely misses the point. Development is not a passive process. Players are DEVELOPED, and some coaching staffs develop players better and faster than others. Those are the ones who win championships. Our staff has yet to show that they are that type of group. So far, many more players they've recruited have been no better than average or below average in development than have exceeded expectations (only Funchess might qualify there). Our staff has been cut all of the slack they deserve. If they don't start putting star-caliber talent on the field this year, from all of the highly touted recruits they've brought in, then it's not likely they ever will.

      Delete
    4. to Anonymous @ 10:25…. You are bereft of football sense. Completely. Furthermore, you are a "Michigan fan" who buys the "Hoke can't develop" line along with the multitude of lemmings out there. Curious if you were on an MSU sight between Dantonio's 3rd and 4th year (where by the way he had less cumulative wins than Hoke did at that point) and stated that Dantonio can't develop kids. Let's go down the list of kids who I think you could say have been developed to this point that will play this year. Ross, Morgan, Bolden, Clark, DG (to an extent), Funchess, Glascow…. or are these guys not developed and they just got better because Hoke and staff don't know what they are doing. As for Dymonte to be bouncing a bit at this point in his career meaning he can't star I would direct you to your favorite player on the team that makes you secretly swoon in envy - Langford at MSU. He kinda bounced around positions and then found one that works and did pretty damn well. You and the lemming army have absolutely no sense whatsoever .

      Delete
    5. I don't want to call you stupid but. Our best offensive player last year was Jeremy Gallon, who red-shirted and our best defensive player is Jake Ryan who did the same. Not playing your freshman year reduces the chances that you're a NFL-caliber stud, but it doesn't in any way mean you're a bust.

      I bet Kalis and Pipkins both end up all-conference players.

      What you're ignoring completely is context. Rich Rodriguez didn't recruit a single TE, so Funchess was unimpeded to playing time. If anything, he is an example of NOT DEVELOPING. But he played, because there was no other option. Under 'normal' circumstances, he would have red-shirted and then seen some backup snaps and we'd be talking a promising young kid who showed flashes (a la Thomas) rather than one of the leading returning receivers in the Big 10 (a la Funchess).

      The problem here is in expectations. When Peppers doesn't meet yours this year, you'd be wise to not call him a bust. Instead, be patient. Safety is a tough position to learn.

      Delete
    6. Nowhere did I say that not playing as a freshman means you're a bust. Neither did I say that a player has to be playing the best he ever will in his first year in order to not be considered a bust. In fact, I said just the opposite. But a five-star recruit at DB should be showing at least a glimmer of talent and playmaking ability in their first year on the field, even if they're also making some mistakes. Thomas didn't even come close. As far as safety goes, tell that to Su'a Cravens. Also a five star recruit at safety in the same class as Thomas, played extensively as a true freshman, with 52 tackles and 4 INTs and is projected as first team All-conference as a sophomore. Or take Shalique Calhoun. Played sparingly his first year on the field, but was a star as a sophomore and projected as All-American this year. Or Jack Conklin. No star recruit at tackle in the same class as Kalis, and now a strong All-conference candidate. Same with Dan Voltz at Wisconsin. Our coaching staff has not developed ANY players like that.

      And in response to our anonymous poster above, "kids who I think you could say have been developed to this point that will play this year." really is a meaningless statement. We're going to start 11 guys on defense and play a lot more, no matter how good they are and no matter how well they're developed. Ross, Bolden and Morgan are all players who have topped out at average to good, but will never be big time playmakers of the kind that you build a championship defense around, despite getting a lot of playing time. RJS was one the top LB recruits in the country and he's done zero in two years.

      Delete
    7. As far as Dantonio, he took over a 4-8 team and had them at 11-1 in four years. Are you projecting Hoke to be at 11-1 this, HIS fourth year? Probably not. So I'd say it's pretty obvious that Dantonio was developing players better than Hoke at the same point in both of their tenures. And let's not forget, Dantonio did that with FAR inferior talent. The recruits he's had to work with average a full star less than Hoke's. And yet his players continue to be far better on the field.

      Delete
    8. Dear Anonymous @ 12:48 - your wife says you have topped out at average to good but just are not a "playmaker"

      Delete
    9. Is that all you have, Anonymous @ 4:15? I gave you facts, and you come back with that? FUCK YOU AND YOUR WIFE.

      Delete
    10. Your selection of talent development is ridiculously selective. Yes, Cravens is killing it at USC; however, you are ignoring the fact that Leon McQuay barely played and didn't particularly stand out. Chris Hawkins, another high 4 start DB from Thomas 2013 class, RSed last season. Both McQuay and Dawkins were rated much higher than Thomas was. Max Redfield, a safety at ND ranked higher than Thomas totaled 12 tackles over 12 games last season. Cam Burrows at Ohio had 11 tackles and is being moved to S. Vonn Bell, a 5 star, barely played all last season until the bowl game (where he did have a good game with 7 tackles and 1 pick). Your are seizing one a few success stories and ignoring the larger data showing there are plenty of coaching staffs that cannot develop talent as quickly as you demand. For every Cravens, there are a dozen kids who play relatively meaningless snaps or look solid but don't wow anyone. As easy as it is to point at each success story and failure and draw larger comparisons, this is a much finer, minute process. Thomas played exclusively as a LB in high school; thus, it should take him a year or two to figure out how to play S. Just because Thomas is a phenomenal athlete doesn't mean he will be able to switch to S and immediately develop into a star. Other players like Cravens played his position in high school and have a head start.

      Is your point to point out a few successes and then look at the dearth of these type of players on Michigan? Yes, Michigan has not found a Jack Allen. However, we are turning another 0 star into a potential all-conference player in Graham Glasgow. The coaches turned Frank Clark, a 3 star with about 4 different positions as a recruit, into an all-conference DE. How about former walk-on Kovacs who became all conference under 2 seasons with Hoke. Has Dantonio turned some low level recruits into great players? Yes. However, for every Dennard or Jack Allen, he has a Lawrence Thomas or a Nick Hill, guys who haven't developed yet or developed into more than role players. Also, when Dantonio went 11-2 in 2010, they played in an even more mediocre Big Ten than now and didn't have to play Ohio. They lost to an average Iowa squad and beat a solid Wisconsin team. Then, when they played a good team in the bowl, Alabama, they got thrashed.

      And no, Dantonio is not developing players better at the same point in his tenure with Hoke's, at least not at this exact point. Dantonio was 6-7 in his third year and Hoke was 7-6. Simple math. Yes, Dantonio went 11-1 in his fourth season, so we can see what Hoke does this year. And Hoke started from a troubled starting point. Have you seen the results of the 2010 and 2011 recruiting classes? Most kids left Michigan or dropped out. The 2010 impact players last season were Ryan, Gardner, and Cam Gordon (Hagerup was suspended). You are ignoring the fact that Michigan hasn't had a lot of options, particularly last season, so when a player does not immediately develop, it looks like Hoke cannot develop players. At least wait until how this season plays out before we start throwing in the "development" towel.

      Also, if you're going to mention Calhoun, at least make the intelligent comment and point out how Dantonio's staff has turned Marcus Rush into an excellent DE. Rush has been making solid MSU DE's get national hype as 1st round draft picks for a while now.

      Delete
    11. Anon vs Anon arguments are hard to follow, especially when they don't make much sense anyway.

      Delete
    12. Nowhere have I said that EVERY highly ranked recruit on other teams turns into a star on the field. Obviously, they don't. the point is that NONE of Michigan's highly ranked recruits have. Yes, everyone loved Kovacs for his story, but the cold hard fact is that he was just not that big a talent, even at his best. Same with Clark. Above average, but not a star. In any case, it's not recruits like those that matter. Any prime time contribution you get from a 3 star is fine. But you need elite, impact players to win championships. Coaching staffs that can develop them win conferences and major bowls. Those who can't, don't. Hoke and Co. have all the material they should need to put that kind of talent on the field, and so far, they've given not even a hint that they're capable of it.

      And 6-7 and 7-6 are not "simple math" different in any meaningful way, especially since Hoke took over a much better team than Dantonio did. And you conspicuously avoided addressing the point that Dantonio got equal at first and now MUCH better results with far inferior talent than Hoke has.

      And please..Graham Glasgow a potential All-conference player? Yes, like Allen Gant is a "potential" all-conference player, I suppose. Or Royce Jenkins-Stone. Everyone has "potential", but that's the problem…ours remains potential and not production.

      And I AM waiting until this season to pass final judgement on Hoke and his staff. I've stated quite clearly that they've been cut all of the slack they deserve, and they need to start producing. This season. No excuses.

      Delete
    13. Internet slap fights are not welcome. Further slaps will be deleted.

      Delete
    14. Fine, but why did Anonymous post @ 4:15 get approved in the first place? I was staying on topic and talking football, and they tossed in a turd, apparently because they had no other response to the points I made. Every post says it will only go up after it's approved, so why even let that one through if you don't like it?

      Delete
    15. Probably because I was on vacation and approved things quickly because I wanted to get back to enjoying my vacation.

      Delete
    16. Home did not inherit a very good team. RR did not recruit well. Look at the seniors and juniors. That's right. Not many there. Give this thing time!

      Delete
    17. "Thomas is looking dangerously like another 5 star bust. Hoke and company have had too many of those, or are on the verge of it, and have had NONE of their top recruits even giving a hint that they're going to develop into big stars. It should not take 3 or 4 years for top level recruits to make a real impact."

      The biggest problem with @Anonymous' argument is that at best Hoke's 1st full class is at best going to be JR's this year. The 4 and 5 star players that he has brought in were in the 2012 and 13 classes. Thomas' ranking was definitely driven by projectability, not immediate impact. There are countless players that do project to be big-time players that do not make quick impacts. Specifically and in defense of D. Thomas, this kid has and had to learn a postion he never played in high school. Mike Farrell on Rivals mentioned it numerous times, that his lack of experience in pass coverage is the major reason he wasn't rated higher, because his tools were top notch. He was primarily a RB, then a LB. He still has a ton of upside, but a guy like Delano Hill (who isn't as highly rated, although still a 4-star) has the KNOWLEDGE & EXPERIENCE advantage from playing that position in HS for 4 seasons.

      I think if you looked closer at the "ATH" or even guys like Jalin Marshall that were listed at a position (WR in this case) to the recruiting services, but played QB another position in HS, either RS or take some time to get going. I understand your frustration, but it hasn't been enough time for Hoke to develop their 2012 and 13 classes to pass judgement on who is a bust vs star.

      Delete
  3. Michigan.....where talent (and redshirts) go to die

    ReplyDelete
  4. If a guy is recruited to play at a position (DB, RB, WR) and not an athlete (where the position is unknown) let them practice at that position for at least their freshman year. If it doesn't work out, then look to a position switch. Trying guys out at different spots once they step on campus is hurting player development. I hope Jabril is focusing only on one position right now

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with this. There are some cases where you can develop a key skillset better - maybe they wanted Thomas to focus on coverage - but in the majority of cases, it's better if a guy develops at their ultimate position. This staff has not shown a great ability to evaluate the talents and limitations of their personnel. People like Gardner, Norfleet, Smith, Beyer, Funchess have been bouncing around, often inexplicably.

      Delete
    2. Some of that bouncing around is a function of the huge gaps of talent and depth left by the 2009 and 2010 classes. I think that's particularly true in the case of Gardner, Funchess and Beyer. Big holes that had to be filled were filled with guys who would have been better off watching and redshirting (in the case of Funchess for sure) and concentrating on learning the position they were intended to play.

      In a typical decade, Thomas sits and gets forgotten by the fans until he shows up as a stud redshirt sophomore box safety. I have a vivid memory of Bo in an interview being asked about replacing Greg McMurtry. Bo smiles and says, "I have a couple youngsters on the bench who might be a little better." That would be Derrick Alexander and Desmond Howard.

      This type of thing has a chance of coming back as the pipeline gets deeper. My most fervent hopes for such a story are Drake Harris and Lawrence Marshall.

      Delete
    3. Although I generally agree with wanting to allow kids to focus on one position, I don't know if some of your examples are completely applicable. Or at least, I think examining the circumstances surrounding when and where these players played provides a better explanation than stating the coaches lack the ability to recognize talents and limitations. First, with Funchess, I think the coaches wanted him to be a dynamic TE that was a real mismatch for LB's and S's. However, as you noted above, Funchess would have needed to RS and add muscle and blocking ability to do accomplish that goal. Unfortunately, the coaches did not have that luxury as they had no other TE's, besides Williams and Kwiatkowski, so they were forced to put a mismatched and unprepared Funchess into the role of everyday TE. (Sidenote: failure to recruit TE's in the first two recruiting classes really hurt the offense's ability to be what Hoke and Borges wanted.) Maybe he is (and probably is) better at WR than he could be at TE, but it is tough to know because he could not be given the opportunity to develop as needed for TE. The coaches probably realized that earlier last season then when they moved him to WR but were hamstrung by the lack of viable TE option (Williams who is a poor blocker and not a threat in the passing game at all and the true freshman Butt; note that when Butt became more viable as a TE, we saw more of Funchess at WR).

      Beyer falls into a similar category and has bounced around positions out of need just as much as poor talent and limitation recognition. When Ryan tore his ACL last season, the only option at SAM was Cam Gordon who missed most of the previous season due to a back injury. So the coaches asked Beyer to slim down and provide support of the position. Then when Ryan returned, the coaches moved Beyer to SDE because we weren't getting as much production out of the spot with Heitzman and a bunch of RS freshman playing it. Thus Beyer played undersized on the line. His career arc resembles a very similar one to Roh, where both bounced around different positions because of a lack of depth at positions and coaching staff's trying to transition from completely different systems. Both seemed to lack the elite agility or quickness to play WDE particularly well and have been placed into varying positions based on a lack of other viable options.

      Smith? Deveon or Vincent? If your criticism of the coaches is that they played Deveon last season instead of RS'ing or played him over other RB's, I think you are unfairly blaming the coaches for trying Smith when not much else was working. Deveon didn't look any worse (not really better either) than any other RB we tried last season. As to Gardner, I am curious by what you mean about not recognizing his talent or limitations? What is the coaching staff doing incorrectly with him?

      Finally, as to Norfleet, I do think the coaching staff didn't properly use him in the offense last season without completely tipping off their play selection to the other team. Borges didn't seem to know how to fully utilize Norfleet. But I think that also falls back on Norfleet not being ready for a larger role in the offense. He is youth is pretty apparent in his play. Maybe the coaches could have started him at slot instead of trying to use him as a RB, but every coaching staff is going to make mistakes. I don't think Norfleet is a trend but a product of a coaching staff lacking options and attempting to synthesize talent suited for a system completely opposite of a system they want to run.

      In sum, I think we will start to see more focus on developing players at single positions to maximize their talent in the coming seasons now that the depth chart if becoming much more stable and more talent comes in the door. Hoke and Co. are finally going to have options versus being forced to MacGyver the situation.

      Delete
    4. @Rman

      There wasn't a talent gap at WR, that's not why Gardner moved. The problem was the coaches were biased against small WR AND they wanted Gardner to see the field. That was entirely on them. Funchess was recruited for TE. If he wasn't they should have taken another guy besides him and Williams to fill the need.

      Beyer - I buy the argument there, mostly. He's a quality player who has moved around to fit whatever need was present. But I only buy that partially, because they recruited DL hard and none of the 2012 guys have looked like studs yet.

      The days of kids red-shirting like they did in the 90s are mostly gone, unless you want to punt on recruiting 5-star talents. True freshman play at Alabama and FSU and Oregon and every other elite program. Some/many will still red-shirt, but elite recruits like Thomas get to play if they want to. RJS and Richardson did, even though they were obviously far from being game ready. It's just the reality of football these days.

      Delete
  5. Just to expand a bit on the history: Mattison said during bowl prep that Thomas needs to focus on one position--and that position is nickel corner. Now, of course, it's back to safety.

    Michigan really needs to sort this one out. This is one of the best athletes Michigan has, and it's not like we have returning A-A candidates all over the defensive backfield. I get that he had a ways to go because he played LB in HS, but I'm not sure Mich has done him any favors by being all over the map with his positioning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Was he ever a safety before? I believe in HS he was a LB and his freshman year he was a corner.

      Delete
    2. I think the coaches are just trying to find a place where he can play. Thomas is physically gifted, but obviously playing DB is more than measurables - just ask Josh Furman. There were whispers out of practice last fall (maybe on Mgoblog?) that Thomas could not cover anyone in practice. The coaches clearly wanted him to contribute at nickel CB last year and the snaps were available, but he was not up to it. When he finally saw the field late last season, it was pretty clear why Stribling and Lewis were ahead of Thomas. Anyway, complaining about the coaches not being able to get Thomas up to speed at nickel CB is ridiculous when two other freshmen saw the field at CB and played pretty well.

      The concern that Magnus mentions is a legit one. All of Thomas' experience going back to HS has been in the box. Move him back to FS, and we could have another Cam Gordon situation on our hands. Thomas absolutely needs to make a move this year though. There are too many good, young DB's on this team and the pecking order that develops at safety this camp will be likely be carried through the 2015 season. If the four or five returning corners look good early, I could see Hoke sticking Peppers at safety. And no one is keeping him off the field.

      Delete
  6. Any chance he could gain 30# and be a linebacker? While I'm being crazy, what about RB?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My opinion would be "no" on LB. He has been in the program 18 months already, and he is still barely 190 lbs. And I don't believe the 6'2" roster listing after seeing him stand next to teammates. But if he tanks at safety, they may be forced to try a move to either LB or offense. Not sure where he fits in on offense. He is a good runner, but he does not have the stocky build that Nuss may want.

      Delete
  7. RE: Bradon Herron award. It's almost like these kind of plays are random and not the result of stellar play...

    RE: I think he's exactly at the position he should be at. I think he should have been there last year, but since he wasn't, he should spend the year red-shirting and learning, like Richardson did last year. Strong safety is probably going to be locked down by Peppers for the next 4 years and Wilson is only around for 2 more years. So, FS is a perfect spot for Thomas, if he can red-shirt and be given time to develop. We don't need another CB, nickel or otherwise. Thomas should be groomed to take over Wilson's spot when he's a RS JR.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I was starting to think about RB too before Isaac transferred.

    Just hope they find a way to get him on the field. If Peppers starts over him, okay, maybe Thomas takes over in 2015 when Peppers moves to CB. But if it's Hill, it could be a long wait. Agree with the earlier poster: It shouldn't take that long to make a player out of a safety--especially when you hardly have any!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I'd hate to see another 5 star safety recruit bulk up and turn into a mediocre linebacker. One Jonas Mouton was enough.

    I'm not sure what it is with the program, but coach after coach after coach has brought in highly rated recruits at safety, and done nothing with them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Maybe he could practice/play safety for the next 3 years and become an All Big Ten safety. Just because he is currently behind another 4* SO safety (Hill) doesn't mean it will stay that way through fall camp. Also, if Delano HIll has developed faster than Dymonte Thomas, I don't see how that speaks poorly about the coaching staff.

    Given that we only have 4 safeties and the positions are similar in our defense, I'm not going to read too much into Dymonte playing free safety. If Dymonte is the second best safety, he'll start. If Hill is ahead of him, that's fine with me.

    I think Dymonte being #43 on this list speaks more to the depth on the team than to whether or not he will be successful at Michigan.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Well, not so sure about that...Thomas was ranked #33 last year, and has actually dropped, despite a year of experience. I'd say that's more him not improving than lots of other guys getting better.

    ReplyDelete
  12. He was #33 last year because he was projected as the starting nickel corner at this time of year. Instead, Lewis and Stribling were better CBs and played instead of Dymonte. Both Lewis and Stribling appear to be quite good.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He shouldn't have been projected to start and there was no real reason to think he would except for hype. A wise lesson for Peppers?

      Delete
  13. So he's a terrific athlete, and we burned his redshirt without him doing anything of consequence on defense. We are going fo fuck around for 2-3 years trying to figure out where he belongs and then when his career is 75% finished, he'll finally be able to contribute for one season.

    Yay, another Stevie Brown.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd take it at this point. Brown was pretty damn good that one year.

      But yeah, suboptimal if it goes that route. I'm hoping, but not expecting, for a red-shirt.

      Delete